Copyright © 2004 by Jerry Leckie — You may download my writing for your own reading pleasure; however, you may not place my writing on a web site or reproduce stories for distribution without my permission.
WARNING: My short story fiction deals with very mature subjects and with explicit language, some of which is of a sexual nature. If viewing such material is illegal where you live or if viewing such material would be offensive to you, please click on the “BACK” button of your browser NOW to return to other sections of my site.

From Part Two:

Further conversation in the van was sporadic until Nick turned off the highway onto a gravel road that led into a thick pine forest. "We're almost there," he said as the van picked up speed. The road leveled off but twisted and turned for a few more miles through the trees until the forest gave way to a mountain meadow bisected by a wide, shallow stream. There, the road ended.

Without pause, Nick drove into the water and headed upstream toward its outflow from a fracture in a towering slab of granite outcropping five hundred feet high and just as wide. As they approached the fracture, the stream curved around a large boulder. From this point of view, it was easy to see that the split in the rock was about thirty feet wide.

"We're home guys," John said with pride as the van drove into the towering fissure.




As the van entered the fracture in the rock, John donned the communications headset once more and verified their arrival. "Don't want to get vaporized by a laser cannon," he said with a cheeky grin.

For the next ten minutes, the van passed between sheer walls of black granite that gave onto a lovely mountain valley framed by jagged peaks  rising thousands of feet. Nick drove out of the stream onto a gravel path that eventually became a paved road further up the bank. From this vantage point, they could see that the stream was flanked by a meadow of summer wild flowers.

"Oh, that's beautiful," Tom said with wonder, having never seen such beauties of nature.

"Wait until you smell them," Nick countered, opening the windows of the van. Deliciously sweet smells immediately filled the compartment.

Toby scooted over to sit on Tom's lap. They stuck their heads out of the window and laughed as the cool breeze whipped their hair. John sat smiling at the sight and nudged Nick to look at them in the rear view mirror. "They're beautiful, aren't they Nick?" he said quietly, almost in awe. 

"Yeah, they are. This is where they belong, in a world that understands and loves them. Where they can be their natural selves."

The stream grew narrower as they advanced upon a field of large boulders through which it flowed. The road circled around the boulders revealing an earthen dam forming a shimmering blue lake. At the boys' questioning looks, John explained, "We dammed up the stream to control the outflow so we can get in and out of the valley during spring thaw. The lake is also our water supply."

They entered another thick stand of pine trees as they circled the lake. When they passed out of the grove, the boys gasped at the sight that lay before them. Here, the stream narrowed considerably and the broad valley floor was dotted with dozens upon dozens of structures of wood, stone and glass nestled comfortably among trees and shrubs. The van paused, allowing the awestruck boys to take in the sight. John spread his arms and proclaimed, "Home!"

Toby was finally able to speak. He took his lover's hand. "Look Tom, it's beautiful! It's so different from the city. Those buildings look like they're growing out of the ground."

"Good analogy Toby," John agreed. "You're used to the steel and glass towers of a city. Our buildings are made from material found right here in the valley. The glass we salvaged, mostly from those abandoned towns you passed." He smiled broadly at the boy. "Most of the structures you're looking at are the homes of individual people; there are no dormitories here. It may sound overly romantic, but we like to think that this village is existing in harmony with nature.  And, so are the people who live in it. That includes you now."

Nick started the van. "Well, come on boys. It's past my lunch time and there are people who want to meet you." But Nick didn't hurry; he drove slowly enough for Tom and Toby to take in a close up view of life in the valley. They passed herds of sheep, cattle and swine, flocks of geese and chickens, fields of vegetable crops, fruit orchards and vineyards. The streets of the village proper were faced by houses nestled among trees and shrubs. No two houses seemed to be exactly alike. People went to and fro about their business, walking or on bicycles or driving a motor vehicle now and then. Almost everyone smiled and waved as they passed. One long street was fronted by shops offering a staggering variety of goods and services, with colors and smells seducing the eye and nose.

They turned down a side street past the hanger for an airfield and stopped in front of a house made of logs. Nick turned to the boys. "Doc Kennedy would like to see you. He'll be the one to get you settled in. Leave your gear here until we find out where you're going to bunk."

They piled out of the van as a tall gray-haired man came down the front steps to greet them. A smile seemed to be permanently plastered on his face as well as a twinkle in his eyes.

Nick said, "Guys, this is Doctor Paul Kennedy."

As Tom and Toby stood before him, Kennedy suddenly appeared to be overcome. His hands made a dismissive gesture and he shrugged his shoulders. "I seem to have no words to express what I'm feeling at this moment. And, I've waited almost a lifetime for it. Please forgive an old man then, if all he can do is stutter and stare."

They smiled shyly and came to his rescue. Knowing that this was a person of some importance, Tom took off his cap and introduced himself. Then, Toby stepped forward and did likewise. In return, Kennedy pulled them into a hug for a long moment. Nick and John stood by smiling, knowing the emotions that must be racing through the man.  At length, Kennedy regained control of his voice and said, "Well, you've had a long journey today and, being young, you must be starving. Luckily, I have lunch prepared with enough food to feed an army."

At the mention of lunch, their growling stomachs occupied most of their attention, but once inside Kennedy's house, Toby and Tom looked around curiously. They could not imagine living in a dwelling made of felled tree trunks. They had no frame of reference for this place. Actually, they had no frame of reference for anything that they had experienced since leaving the city.

As Nick and John entered the house, they removed their caps and Kennedy immediately noticed the bump on John's head. He looked at Nick. "What happened?" he demanded.

"We had a bit of trouble on the way here. We were going to file a report with you later."

"You've had trouble before, but no one has ever been injured. Tell me now."

Nick recounted the incident, praising Tom and Toby's courage and quick thinking. He noticed tears in the boys' eyes when he mentioned the deaths of the gang members. Turning to them, he said, "I'm sorry we had to take human life to protect ourselves. But, it was us or them. Now you've seen what happens to men when they loose their civilization. May you never see it again. We're working very hard here to construct a world where men will never loose their civility."

Kennedy gave Nick and John long loving hugs. "I'm just happy that I have you back safe." He turned to Tom and Toby and enveloped them in his arms. "And, I'm so pleased that you arrived here safely, for you are very precious to us." He kissed them on their cheeks then said, "Now, come. Lunch is waiting. I'm sure you are ready to refresh yourselves after your ordeal." Nothing more was said about the attack; however, Kennedy stated that he would report the incident to the valley council. And, he predicted that it would decree that all further imports of goods and personnel would be airlifted into the valley.

During the meal, it became apparent to Kennedy, Nick and John that the two youngsters were unable to frame the million questions forming in their minds. So, they tried to provide information that might prompt the boys.

Between bites of the tasty lunch, Nick suggested, "Guys, Doc Kennedy established this village. Doc, tell them how you came to live in this valley."

"Yes please," Toby piped up. "This place is very remote. How did you find it?"

"It was a memory from my youth. My grandfather worked in the mine here as a very young man. And, I remembered the stories he told me about it as a child. When it became apparent that I should withdraw from society, I searched and found it. Fortunately, no one lived here, for the mine had closed many years before."

"Did you come here alone?" Tom wondered.

"No. A large group came with me. The people that joined me about forty years ago--scientists, statesmen, educators--found themselves in similar circumstances, scorned by their peers to the point that they could not continue with their occupations. Then, as civilization as we knew it began to crumble and the grip of government tightened on society, others who were sympathetic to our cause joined us. For, you see, by that time, we had formed a world wide network of enclaves such as this. Finally, we began to bring men such as yourselves in."

"You mean there are others like us here?" Toby asked excitedly.

In answer, Kennedy sat back and said, "You boys have been wearing those contact lenses all day, and you are not used to such things. Why don't you take them out and give your eyes a rest?"

Tom and Toby took the lenses out of their eyes and blinked in time to see Nick and John doing the same. "You're like us?" Toby asked eagerly.

"Not quite," Nick said ruefully. "And, before you ask, we'll explain that to you later. But, to follow up on what Doc just said, we were rescued from a church the same as you."

"Are you a couple?" Tom asked.

"Yes, we are," John said, taking Nick's hand. "We have a house not far from here."

Tom took Toby's hand. "Thanks for bringing us here."

"It was our pleasure. Now that you're here, you'll be able to live your lives as you should."

"What will we do here, or for that matter, what does everyone else do here?" Toby wondered.

"They live," Kennedy said. "Some of us, like myself, do scientific research. Some teach, some write, some compose music, some write plays. Some are farmers and ranchers, mechanics, engineers, smiths and builders. Some make things and some sell things; you saw all of the shops on the way here. You name it and we do it here. We encourage people to be as creative and entrepreneurial as possible."

"Yes," Nick interjected, "because one day, places like this all over the world will be the centers of civilization and people will have to know how to live happy, free, productive lives without the artificial control of totalitarian governments. There's no one left alive on the outside who remembers how to live without a central government making all of their decisions for them."

Kennedy said emphatically. "Also, we may have diverse interests and occupations, but the one thing we have in common is the conviction that the Epicene Effect is the future of intelligent life on this planet. And we want to be prepared for it."

"Nick and John said you would explain that to us. I now know that Tom, Nick, John and I have the characteristics. But, Tom mated with me. What am I?" Toby asked.

"You have phrased the question correctly. And, I will answer it. I promise. But it would make more sense to you if I explained it with some exhibits in my laboratory. Can that wait until tomorrow?"

"Tomorrow morning, first thing?" Tom asked with a cheeky grin.

"Done," Kennedy agreed with a laugh. By this time, they had finished lunch. Kennedy was right about them being young and hungry; the four men had devoured everything set before them. "Meanwhile, you need to settle your things. I would like for you to stay with Nick and John for the time being." Then, to Nick, "Why don't you take the boys out and show them the village up close and personal?"

"All right! Can do," Nick responded with enthusiasm. "Guys, after we look around, there's a good restaurant where we can have dinner, and a kick-ass club where we can dance until we drop. You up for that?"

Tom glanced at his lover for agreement, then exclaimed, "Oh man, are we! After being cooped up in vans all week, we need the exercise."

The four boys took their leave of Kennedy replete with hugs. Tom and Toby grabbed their packs out of the van and walked the short distance to the home of their hosts, a cozy bungalow of stone and glass. The interior was finished with rough stone, raw planking and exposed heavy roof timbers. The effect was quite inviting, inside and out. "This is beautiful!" Tom exclaimed. "Did you build it?"

"Not hardly," John said, as they dumped their back packs in the spare bedroom. "One of the men here teaches the building trades to young guys. They have formed a construction company and they built it for us. We paid for it with what we earn here."

"What do you do?" Tom asked.

Nick gave them one of his patented evil grins. "Oh, we run errands for Doc, like rescuing beautiful boys and bringing them here." That earned him a good natured whack on the arm from Tom. "Seriously, I'm a research scientist in Doc's lab and John is a veterinarian."

"So, everyone here earns a living?"

"Yep, there's no free lunch," John responded.

"What will we do here?" Toby asked as they headed out of the house for their tour.

"What were you trained to do in school?" Nick countered.

"I was trained as an accountant, but I never had a chance to use it," Toby said doubtfully.

"Well, you will now. The commercial enterprises need you. There's no bookkeeper here. How about you, Tom."

"I was trained as an electrical engineer."

"Hallelujah," whooped John, pointing to a large solar array on the mountainside. "See that? The damn thing requires constant maintenance, and there's only one guy here to handle it and all of the energy relays in town. Both of you are going to be very rich, very soon."

Another one of Nick's evil grins cropped up. "That is unless you're too busy birthing babies." That earned him a whack and a grin from Toby.

They took a stroll around the village hand in hand. Nick and John introduced them as new residents of the valley, earning them free goodies at the candy shop, the bakery and the ice cream store. Seeing Tom and Toby gaze longingly at the merchandise in the clothing store, John said, "Guys, you're going to need some new duds. Your old clothes wouldn't have worked here anyway; the weather is too different. So, Nick and I will stake you to new wardrobes until you settle in and start earning some coin." The boys hugged Nick and John in appreciation.

The tour continued. They passed by the laboratory where Nick worked, the village meeting hall and a performing arts hall. Finally, their stomachs rumbled in protest, ending the excursion at an outdoor restaurant, just as the sun set. They enjoyed a dinner of fresh fish, caught that day in the lake, and settled the food with something slightly alcoholic at a nearby bar. John said it was a local wine from a vineyard in the valley.

Their final stop was at a dance bar. They arrived just as a band was tuning up. When the musicians belted out the first song, they took to the floor and danced for the next two hours. Toby and John spent most of the time dancing with each other, but they occasionally shared with Nick and John, and then several other guys, some of whom they had met earlier in the day. Being new faces in town, the bar patrons flirted with them shamelessly. The boys took the invitations as compliments and diplomatically declined offers for dalliance. Tom and Toby noted with interest that most of the men who appeared to be under age thirty had light colored hair and gray eyes. The different shades of hair were remarkable, ranging from platinum blond to light brown.

By moonrise, the four made their way home only slightly foot sore and butt weary. Nevertheless, they said their good nights and retired to their respective bedrooms. Toby and Tom were in the mood for some quiet, romantic time, and they suspected that Nick and John were too.

First, they enjoyed a leisurely shower, washing each other with loving caresses. By the time they dried one another, their ardor was kindled, and they retreated to the bed. Tom dropped down into Toby's arms and submitted to a long, loving, deep soul kiss, ending with them gazing eye-to-eye, searching. Now that they knew what to expect, they were less apprehensive about mating, but only slightly so.

Tom nibbled on Toby's lower lip, then asked, "Can we make it happen again Love?"

"I would like to mate again, but not if it frightens you," Toby said quietly, caressing Tom's cheek with the back of his hand.

Tom smiled down at the boy he adored. "I'm not afraid, now that I know what to expect. But, how do we know it can happen more than once? I mean, the place on your belly healed up after we mated."

Toby took his hand and placed it on his heart. "I know it in here."

Tom smiled. "That's good enough for me."

Toby stole another quick kiss. "Then make love to me."

The command was a welcome one, and Tom complied. He began by stroking Toby's hair. "I love the new texture of your hair. It's like satin." Next, he licked behind his lover's ear. "The scent of your musk has changed too. It's sweeter, but just as sexy." His lips moved to Toby's arm pit. The taste of his lover was strong there, making him hard as a steel spike. Toby grasped the penis and murmured in appreciation.

Knowing what was going to happen made Toby less frantic tonight, but no less responsive to Tom's advances. As the boy ministered to his body, Toby whispered endearments. He wriggled and writhed, his hands caressing every part of Tom's body that he could reach.

Tom's lips and tongue made their way to his love's nipples, where he lingered for a time, nursing them into small spikes of wet sensation. Meanwhile, his hands stroked Toby's abdomen and genitals. As he did so, the penis and testicles began to shrink slowly until they disappeared into his body. He moved his hand to caress that place above the public hair, bringing a litany of approval from his lover.

Tom kissed his way past the navel to the pseudo-scar. The area did not redden as before, but became quite warm to the touch. As his lips teased the spot, his fingers stroked the inside of Toby's thighs. The boy spread his legs and Tom moved between them. Continuing his oral advance on Toby's abdomen, he massaged the youngster's thighs and hips.

Toby clenched and unclenched his abdominal muscles, and suddenly reached out and stilled Tom with a hand. "No more Love. I can't stand any more," he panted, his breath coming in short gasps. "Ahhhhh, yes!" he cried. Tom watched, fascinated, as the scar opened. "Now Love. Take me now!"

Staring down into his eyes, Tom grasped his penis and glided into the boy. Both sighed with pleasure. Toby wrapped his legs around Tom's hips and pressed him forward until he was completely inside. He clenched his muscles, locking Tom's penis in place, and they were one.

Eyes still locked, they smiled tenderly and Tom relaxed as the tingling began. There was no fear, no apprehension tonight, so they simply let wave after wave of pleasure wash over them. As Toby began to draw semen from Tom, they shut their eyes and clasped each other tightly, sobbing with joy as the electric-like sensations overtook them. Toby sank his teeth into Tom's shoulder while Tom sucked the tender skin of Toby's neck.

At the most overwhelming moment, they cried out, their muscles tensed and the waves of sensation slowly receded.

Tom withdrew and Toby's flesh closed. He turned them on their sides and stroked his love as they rested. "Toby, I have no words to describe what I'm feeling right now. So, I'll just say that I'm so filled with joy that I'm your lover and mate."

Toby caressed Tom's cheek and said softly, "There are no words, in any language, to express what we mean to each other. So, I'll just say that you are my mate, now and forever."

Let the world go as it would, whatever mystery tomorrow might bring, this much they knew: they loved each other. And no one could take that from them.


The boys woke with the rising sun, but lingered in bed to kiss and cuddle, until nature called. After flushing the toilet, Toby looked at his reflection in the bathroom mirror and giggled. "Look at my neck. You gave me a big hickey."

Tom examined the purple bruise critically. "Just marking my territory," he said smugly.

Toby smacked him on the rear and dragged him into the shower. As they emerged from the bath, they discovered all of their clothes, cleaned and folded, stacked on a chair near the bedroom door.

John was setting food on the table as they entered the kitchen. Nick joined them and they dived into a hearty breakfast. On his third bite, Nick began to sputter with laughter.

"What's up?" John asked around a mouthful of sausage.

Nick pointed to Toby's hematoma. He sang, "Somebody made whoopee last night." The boys grinned and blushed slightly, much to their hosts' amusement.

Then Tom looked at Nick critically. "Nick, this is going to be a hot summer day. Why are you wearing a high necked sweater?" Before Nick could dodge out of the way, Tom pulled the sweater aside to reveal a big blue love bite. The other three dissolved into fits of giggles as Nick turned very red.

The sound of John's mobile phone halted the merriment. After a few words, he broke the connection. "Well, that's my first call of the day. One of Frank Ingram's cows is calving in the north pasture. See you guys after a while." He picked up his medical bag, kissed Nick and was gone.

Thirty minutes later, Doc Kennedy welcomed Nick, Tom and Toby into his laboratory. The two young lovers assured him that they had enjoyed the previous afternoon and evening, and that Nick and John were perfect hosts. The pleasantries completed, they retired to a conference room where a large selection of radiographic images was displayed on a viewer.

"Yesterday I promised to answer your questions," Kennedy began, "regarding the Epicene Effect. Do you know what the word epicene means?" Tom and Toby shook their heads. "It means having both male and female characteristics, and all that that comprises. Now, the technical word describing someone having both male and female reproductive organs is hermaphrodite. And, the word describing someone having the outward appearance of both male and female is androgynous. But, the word epicene, as we use it today, covers both of those conditions and more. It also addresses the mental and emotional states and even the instincts of persons having both male and female characteristics. In other words, it describes the whole of such a being."

Tom and Toby looked thoroughly confused. Kennedy smiled and said, "Okay, let's take it one step at a time. About eighty years ago the human birthrate began to decline sharply. Fewer and fewer females were born. In their place, an amazing number of males were born having the homosexual gene. Those of us who were interested enough to inquire began to investigate this phenomenon, while the rest of the scientific community madly tried to get males and females to make more babies, to 'save' our species from extinction."

He turned on the viewer. "What we discovered during our research is displayed here. Take a look at the first image. It is of the pelvic region of a heterosexual male, in his early twenties, taken sixty years ago. The next image is of a homosexual male of the same age taken the same year. See the dark area just above the pubic bone? That is a set of immature female organs. The man was fully grown, but the female organs never developed."

He paused, then indicated the next image. "This is the image of a mature homosexual male taken forty years ago. As you can see, the female organs are larger, but still not fully developed. The next is of another male taken twenty years ago. The organs are larger still, but not fully developed. And, this image was taken only fifteen years ago. The organs are almost complete." He smiled at the boys. "Do you see a pattern developing?"

Nodding their heads, Toby and Tom now were staring at him with rapt attention. "So did we. Needless to say, we and other scientists all over the world have taken many images over the last ten years of homosexual men who have just passed puberty. And, we have speculated," he smiled at Toby, "that we could expect--at any time--young men to appear who would  be able to mate and bear children. That is the part that the rest of the world refuses to believe."

He pointed to the screen again. "This last image was taken last year here in this valley. The female sex organs are complete. Toby, you are the second such man we've found, but are the first to be able to mate. That's what makes you so special."

"There's another like me ... here?" Toby asked, in awe.

"Yes, his name is Jeffrey, and he lives here. He's a year older than you, but he cannot mate."

Nick placed his hands on Toby's shoulders. "Toby, it's important to this project--and to the human race--for us to understand why you and not this other boy can mate. Will you allow us to examine you?"

"Of course Nick."

An hour later Kennedy placed Toby's image on the viewer beside his epicene counterpart. The female organs in both were identical. Toby's pseudo-scar was faintly visible, however. He had explained to the two scientists how the opening had appeared and resealed itself, making the mating possible. He had also explained the physical details of the mating.

Nick said, "Guys, now that we know how the mating takes place, we are closer to understanding why it takes place."

Kennedy cleared his throat and continued. "Tom, have you wondered, since you arrived here, why Father Benton didn't send you here sooner? He obviously recognized your epicene characteristics."

Tom smiled shyly and looked at Toby. "No, I've been too preoccupied."

"Exactly," Nick said. "Father Benton waited because of something we suspected. He waited a year for another boy like you to be sent to him. He placed you and Toby together hoping you would fall in love."

The wheels were spinning in Toby's mind. "Does Jeffrey have a mate that he loves?"

"Let's say that he has a lover, not a mate," Kennedy said. "His name is David, and they are passionately in love. But, David is in his twenties, and his female organs are incomplete. This led us to suspect that another characteristic of the Epicene Effect is that only men who both have fully developed female organs can mate."

All eyes turned to Tom. "Tom, would you allow us to examine you?" Tom stared at them wide eyed and nodded. A short time later, Kennedy placed Tom's image on the viewer and they observed a perfectly formed set of female sex organs.

"Toby can mate with me?" he asked excitedly. Kennedy nodded. "Just think Babe, we can both have kids!" His enthusiasm waned quickly. "But, when we were mating, why didn't my abdomen open like Toby's?"

Kennedy scratched his head. "I'm pleased that it didn't. It would have made mating very awkward if both of you had been in female phase at the same time." They had a good laugh at the mental picture of that scene.

Nick added, "Tom, which one of you goes into female phase will depend on the emotions floating around at the moment while you're making love. The shift from male to female has to be from a mental cause, not a physical one." He paused for effect. "As Doc Kennedy said, the word epicene describes both the physical and mental characteristics of a being. So, don't worry about who's going to do what to whom. Also, you still have body hair, so the hormones you were taking haven't entirely worn off yet. When they do, then Toby can mate with you."

While Tom and Toby were digesting this information, Kennedy got to his feet. "That's enough for today lads." The twinkle in his eye flashed with humor. "Any more and your brains will go on overload."

Nick piped up, "Hey guys, let's go down to the store and buy your new clothes."


As they made their way to the clothing emporium, Nick said, "Doc and I gave you a lot to think about this morning. If you have any questions or comments about anything we said, don't hold them back."

Tom smiled with love at Toby, then said thoughtfully, "Considering we just found out we're both male and female, we should be feeling like freaks of nature, but we don't. We feel perfectly natural. Is that part of the instinct of being Epicene?"

Yes," Nick answered. "It's the same instinct that tells you who to mate with."

Toby mused, "I wonder if Jeffrey is ever sad because he can't mate when he knows he's capable of it?"

"Good question," Nick responded. "He undoubtedly has the instinct to mate, but his love for David is great enough to overcome it. And, it's important for us to study that part of the epicene mental and emotional makeup. Right now we believe that mating has to be based on love, or at least some sort of commitment between the mates. That's why Father Benton put you two together."

Tom sneaked a kiss from Toby. "I'm glad he did."

The three stopped at a sidewalk cafè for a quick bite of lunch and continued their conversation.

Toby asked, "Nick, do you and John wish you could have had children?" Tom gave him a sharp look. "Oh, I'm sorry Nick. That question was way too personal."

"That's okay Toby. I don't mind answering. John and I haven't really discussed it. No point really. We're in our twenties, so we were born too early and our female organs are incomplete. But, yes, I wish I could have had children." He gave them another evil grin. "Meanwhile, there's nothing wrong with having sex just for the pure pleasure of it."

Tom swallowed a bite of his sandwich. "I've been so busy thinking about our mating that I had forgotten about that."

"I noticed that you two were approached several times last night at the dance club. Those guys weren't looking to mate; they just wanted to have a good time."

"I dated quite a bit in school and bedded lots of guys, but now I couldn't imagine having sex with anyone but Tom."

Nick said, "Love is a very powerful emotion. I feel the same way about John."

They spent a couple of hours at the clothing store, looking, discussing what they should buy and trying on garments. They both selected several sets of underwear and summer weight outer garments. Tom chose mostly outdoor clothes, since he would be working on the solar array. Nick suggested that they invest in warm jackets for the cool mountain evenings. Finally, they each bought two pairs of shoes.

As Nick was paying for their purchases, he spied the owner of the store and introduced Toby as the new accountant in the valley. The man fell on Toby like a long lost lover and dragged him into the office to look at his accounting records. Fifteen minutes later, Toby had his first client.

On the way back home, Nick called the valley's electrical power engineer and arranged for him to meet Tom that afternoon. By the time the boys had arrived back at the house and put away their purchases, the man was on their doorstep. After an hour's conversation, he agreed to employ Tom, starting the next day.

By dinner time, both boys were bursting with joy and not a little bit of pride at becoming productive citizens of the valley. In celebration, Toby insisted on preparing dinner. Throughout the meal, Tom, Nick and John showered Toby with compliments, then with tongues firmly planted in cheeks, speculated that he would be cooking most of the meals in the future. With a deadly serious face, Toby wondered aloud where he could find a recipe for sautèd rattlesnake in mountain scorpion sauce.

Later, Tom and Toby lay in bed, limbs entwined, kissing softly, whispering endearments. "My handsome mate, I love you so much," Toby sighed. "You know what I want to do right now?" Tom smiled at his love and shook his head. "I want to make love to you like I used to during the sacrament." Tom's penis became instantly erect. "As an acolyte, I was supposed to be stimulating you sexually for a greater cause, but I wasn't, I was making love to you."

With those words, Toby began kissing Tom: forehead, brows, eyes, nose. He raked his tongue across Tom's lips, then gently attacked his ear, sucking the lobe. Then, his mouth savored the soft tissue of his neck, ending with the capture of his Adam's apple. Tom's chest heaved as Toby's talented lips and tongue ministered to his nipples. Toby drew himself to his knees and put his hands to work roaming his love's body. Tom wriggled under the delicious treatment, making small animal noises. Inhaling the scent of his lover's rising musk made Toby's penis hard as he kissed his way down the flat stomach and buried his nose in the curly patch of pubic hair. Ignoring Tom's raging erection, he knelt between the boy's legs and kissed the inside of his thighs. Tom gave a powerful groan and lifted his knees to his chest.

The sight of Tom surrendering himself to the man he loved almost brought Toby to orgasm. He dived down to his lover's magnificent testicles, bathing them with his tongue and sucking them with his lips. Tom whimpered, "Take me Love. Take me now." Ever the attentive lover, Toby stroked his anus delicately with a finger, sending electric-like charges through the boy. Then, he slowly inserted a finger and began to probe. Tom clutched his knees to his chest convulsively and bellowed, "Now Toby!"

Complying with his love's command, Toby raised Tom's buttocks and stuffed a pillow underneath. Leaning forward, he guided his penis into the comforting warmth of his lover's rectum. Tom pulled him down onto himself full-length and wrapped his legs around Toby's waist. Before capturing his lips in a deep soul kiss, he whispered, "Oh yes Toby Babe, make love to me."

And Toby did. For many minutes he took long stokes while exploring Tom's mouth with his tongue. Every few minutes, he rose to his knees, lifted Tom's hips and applied a dozen short strokes, sending his penis crashing into Tom's prostate. On the fourth such venture, a high pitched keening rose in their throats as both boys crossed the threshold of orgasm and poured out their seed.

After Toby caught his breath, he lovingly lapped up Tom's honey-sweet semen and fed it back to him. Thoroughly relaxed and content, the boys dropped down into a dreamless sleep.

The next morning when Tom stirred awake, he found Toby smiling at him. "Well, it happened Oh Beautiful One."

"What's happened Love?" Tom kissed the tip of his nose.

"Go look in the mirror."

Th light dawned in Tom's eyes. He leaped out of bed and darted into the bathroom. "Wow!" he exclaimed, a smile splitting his face.

Toby stood behind the boy and encircled him with his arms. "You're more beautiful than ever!" The soft waves of Tom's light brown hair had straightened, leaving silver highlights in their place. The heavy brows remained but had turned platinum blond. His skin texture had softened and turned a deep golden tan. He stroked his chest and checked his underarms; both were devoid of hair. Looking down his six pack, he noticed that the pattern of his pubic hair had reduced to a small strip of soft blondness.

Their eyes met in the looking glass as Toby stroked Tom's cheek. "I guess you can throw your razor away too, Beautiful." Tom didn't respond, but continued to stare at his reflection. "Are you okay with the changes Babe?" Toby asked softly.

"Yeah," he finally said, smiling. "This is the real me. And I was just thinking about all that means to us now." Toby's colorless eyes smiled into Tom's pale gray ones. "I feel so good I just want to shout."

And Nick and John did shout when they saw Tom. They gave him congratulatory hugs and kisses, then Nick hustled him off to the lab for a quick checkup by Doc Kennedy.

That night, Toby cooked a special dinner, including a cake, to celebrate Tom's change. Which meal was totally consumed, in record time, by the four friends. John broke out a bottle of especially good valley wine as they retired to the living room and lit a cheerful blaze in the fireplace.

There, they had enjoyed good spirits and fellowship for a time when Tom noticed that Toby was missing. He excused himself and went in search of the boy, spotting him immediately as he stepped out onto the back porch. There was his love, hands behind his head, lying on his back on the picnic table.  He appeared to be simply staring up at the full moon. Tom's sensitivity to Toby fairly bristled, so he approached slowly and sat on a bench beside the table. He observed his love for a time, then kissed the boy softly on the cheek.

Toby turned his head toward Tom and smiled. He placed a hand on his abdomen and said, "You've given me a child."

The first outbreak of pandemonium occurred when Nick and John heard the news. They behaved like expectant fathers for an hour before rational thought returned. The next morning, when Doc Kennedy confirmed that Toby was indeed with child, the second hubbub arose as word spread throughout the valley. Later, Kennedy burned up the satellite relays to the thousands of other enclaves, announcing the breeding and urging his colleagues to be prepared for similar events among their populations.

That night when Toby initiated love play, Tom advised caution, not wanting to injure the incipient child. But, Toby knew his own body and overcame Tom's objections with his sexual prowess. In a matter of minutes he had Tom humming with passion as he kissed and stroked the length of the boy's body. The journey paused at Tom's lips for a long kiss, then continued with an expedition to explore his ear.

In response, Tom's hands clawed at Toby and his breath came in short gasps. Toby noticed a subtle change in the scent of his lover's musk. He glanced down the boy's body in time to see Tom's penis begin to shrink and withdraw. In contrast, his own already hard shaft began to throb as more blood rushed into it.

Toby's heart pounded in anticipation. With trembling fingers, he stroked Tom's abdomen, just above the pubic hair, bringing forth a torrent of approving comments. "Oh yes Toby! Now I know what you were feeling. It's wonderful, beautiful. I can feel it coming. Touch me more Love, more. Just like that. It won't be long now Love. You can mate with me. Oh Toby, I love you so much!"

Emboldened, Toby replaced his fingers with his lips. Tom shuddered and wove his fingers in the boy's hair. As Toby continued to kiss the spot, he could feel the heat rise from it and could finally see the flesh redden. In moments, the skin parted and Tom spread his legs. Toby moved between them and guided his penis into the slit. They hissed as the sensation of such intimate contact swept over them. Tom wrapped his legs around Toby and drew him forward until the full length of his penis was inside.

Even though they had mated twice before, tonight they had taken opposite roles and paused to process the unfamiliar sensations. For the first time, the sensitive walls of Tom's female organs felt Toby's penis enter and throb with the boy's heartbeat. Likewise, for the first time, Toby felt Tom's muscles grip his shaft and caress it with a rippling-like effect, locking it in place.

Instinctively, Toby relaxed into Tom's arms, surrendering his body, offering his seed to his lover. Acknowledging his superior role in the mating, Tom kissed Toby's cheek, then held him tightly as the tingling began. He crooned, "Yes, it has begun. Thank you Love for this gift. Let us hope that it will make a child for us to love and nurture." They shuddered with ecstasy as he began to draw semen from Toby. As the wonderful sensations began to ebb, he murmured, "You are my mate, my friend, my love, my life, forever."

The next morning, Nick and John stared across the breakfast table with unflinching attention as Tom and Toby tried to explain what they had learned during last night's mating. "In epicene mating, the one in female phase is dominant," Tom said, choosing his words carefully. "I don't know how to explain it other than it's both a physical state and an emotional state." His brow wrinkled. "Lemme say it this way. In heterosexual mating, the male is dominant. It's his decision to deliver his sperm to the female. That can be accomplished even while the female is asleep or while it is against her wishes. But, in epicene mating, the one in male phase brings his sperm to the one in female phase as an offering, then she takes it by drawing it from him. As you can see, it's an act of love; both parties have to want the mating to take place."

Nick said gravely, "Tom, you've explained it well, and validated another epicene characteristic. In the future, the epicene population of the world will be the product of love, not rape or marriages of convenience or unexpected pregnancies."


Tom and Toby settled comfortably into valley life over the next two months. Their relationship with Nick and John matured into loving friendship. They also made other friends, two of which were Jeffrey and David. The two boys initially engineered an introduction, out of curiosity, when they heard that Toby was pregnant. But, after the initial meeting, the four found that they genuinely enjoyed one another, and quickly integrated Nick and John into the friendship.

During this time, they settled into their careers. Tom enjoyed his work out of doors on the valley's power system, and the job paid him well. Toby accumulated fifteen accounting clients, which was just about the limit he could handle without sharing his fees with an employee.

They continued to live with their friends, eventually repaying them for the purchase of the clothes. Tom and Toby also offered to pay them rent, which Nick and John adamantly refused. Ultimately, the boys insisted on buying the groceries for the house.

But, this was a short lived agreement. When Tom announced that he too was pregnant, the boys began seriously thinking about moving into their own place, with lots of room, since it appeared that their family was destined to grow. Coincidentally, the construction company was building a house with four bedrooms nearby. By the time Toby's pregnancy began to show, the house was almost completed. They negotiated with the company, and, with a small down payment and an installment contract, the house was theirs.

The next order of business was furniture, a scarce commodity in the valley. Normally, such items were scavenged from one of the abandoned towns, but that was out of the question. So, they furnished the house in stages. They ordered a bed airlifted into the valley. Friends introduced them to a woodcarver who agreed to make items of furniture as they were able to pay for them. They even made some items themselves out of doors, barrels and so forth. By and by, the furniture was polished, painted, upholstered and installed in the new house. Tom and Toby moved in and their friends threw them a housewarming party, arriving with gifts that served to help make the new house a home.

By the next month, Toby's pregnancy was very obvious. Doc Kennedy and Doc Cunningham, the valley physician, had been monitoring him. So far, he had progressed without incident. Toby found the movements of the baby both thrilling and a little unnerving. One evening while they were entertaining, the child became so active that Toby had to retire to the bedroom to rest. In a few minutes, Tom went to check on him. Ten minutes later, Jeffrey, David, Nick and John crowded into the room to see if everything was all right. They found Tom leaning over Toby with his ear pressed to his mate's protruding belly. Both of them were smiling.

Nick quipped, "What's up guys? The kid giving you instructions on how to birth him?"

Tom grinned up at his friends. "He's making a lot of noise that we haven't been able to translate."

"Lemme hear," Nick countered. "Maybe I can figure it out." He placed his ear on Toby's belly and smiled. "I knew the kid was gonna be smart, but this is incredible."

"Whatdayamean?" Tom asked, knowing a joke was forthcoming.

"I can hear him reciting the multiplication tables. He's either gonna be an accountant or an engineer. Imagine that!"

For the next three months, Toby's belly grew progressively bigger. One Friday afternoon, he was standing at the kitchen counter when he felt the child turn and the glands of his body activate.

He picked up the telephone and called Tom. "Babe, I think it's time."


Toby managed to call Doc Cunningham before making his way to the master bedroom. Tom, panting from his dead run half way across the valley, found him kneeling on all fours in the middle of the bed. "Toby! Are you all right?" he asked, breathlessly. Toby nodded his head. "Perhaps you should lay down."

"No, I tried, and I can't. Help me take my clothes off." He sat on the edge of the bed while Tom undressed him.

Tom was the attentive mate. "Do you feel any pain? Do you feel sick?"

"No," Toby croaked. "It just feels like every gland in my body is running wild. It's a little unnerving."

"Did you call Doc Cunningham?"

"Yeah." Toby crawled to the center of the bed and stood on his knees. "Tom, please come kneel behind me. Put your arms around me. I need you near me Love." Tom understood immediately. He undressed and knelt behind his mate. He placed his arms around him and kissed and nuzzled his neck, supporting him both physically and emotionally. Toby relaxed into his arms, resting his head on Tom's shoulder.

This is how Cunningham found them. At first, he protested the position they were in, but Toby assured him that he must remain upright. The doctor acceded to his wishes and spread several layers of towels on the bed in front of them. At that moment, Doc Kennedy entered the room, then Nick, John, David and Jeffrey. They quietly took chairs or sat on the floor, no one saying a word. The boys smiled at them, comforted by the loving presence of their friends.

Toby closed his eyes. His breathing became deep and regular. He began to croon softly as if communicating with the child. Tom closed his eyes also, his face relaxing into the same serene expression as his lover. In a few minutes, his breathing matched Toby's.  Holding Toby with one arm, he began to stroke the swollen belly with his other hand. His fingertips described circles near the navel, then lower and lower until they reached the scar.

"Yes," Toby breathed.

"He's going into female phase," Nick whispered, as Toby's genitals slowly receded into his body.

A few minutes later, Tom wrapped both arms tightly around Toby's chest. Toby sighed and the pseudo-scar began to open. He shuddered and it distorted and commenced to dilate. He took a deep breath and a small head appeared at the opening, then the body, then the legs, delivering itself into Cunningham's waiting hands. He looked down with wonder as the doctor laid the baby on a towel and cleaned it. It was perfectly formed, with a full head of blond hair. The look of wonder on Toby's face morphed to a smile as the child took its first breath and began to wriggle about.

The first child bred by Epicenes had been born.

Tom claimed a kiss from his mate as the birth opening closed and the pseudo-scar reappeared. Cunningham wrapped the baby in a blanket and held it out to Toby. Toby took the squirming bundle and sat in Tom's arms against the head of the bed. Everyone gathered around, talking at once. Instinctively, Toby brought the child's lips to his nipple and it began to suckle. Conversation ceased. He looked up in surprise at everyone's astonished expression.

He grinned up at them. "Didn't you all think I would be able to feed him? I felt my breasts fill the minute he was born."

Everyone started jabbering again. Cunningham requested and took a sample of the secretion for analysis. Tom's curiosity overcame him and he took a sample with his lips. Publicly, he announced that it tasted like watered down honey. Then, he leaned close to Toby and whispered that it really had the same flavor as his semen, sending the boy into a bevy of giggles.

Someone retrieved drinks and everyone sat down for quiet conversation. Looking down at the small form, Toby mused, "My child is both male and female. Will it be known as 'he' or 'she?' I absolutely refuse to refer to him as 'it.'"

Everyone laughed and Doc Kennedy offered, "Well, if a gender specific pronoun is demanded, then I suggest you refer to him as 'he,' since his exposed genitals are male."

"Yeah," Nick quipped. "Didja see the whanger on that kid? He's going to be a stud as well as an accountant/engineer." Then, he had to explain his earlier joke, much to everyone's amusement.

"What are you going to name him?" Jeffrey asked. Tom and Toby looked blank. Obviously, they hadn't considered a name.

John mused, "Your child is a pioneer, the first of his kind, an original creation in the universe. Does that give you any ideas?"

Toby paused a minute in thought, then smiled and nodded. "I'll name him Leonardo, after Leonardo da Vinci."

"Who?" David asked. "I flunked history and social studies in school."

Toby laughed. "He was a renaissance man: an artist, scientist, engineer and a thinker for the ages." He kissed Tom. "And, our Leonardo will be all of those things too." Tom nodded his agreement.

"Since both of you have different last names, which name will Leonardo carry?" Jeffrey wondered.

The question attracted Kennedy's immediate attention. "Good question Jeff. We need a naming convention. There are several hundred Epicenes pregnant now. We must be ready with a name registry for the children as they are born."

"He could take your last name Toby," Tom offered. "Lawrence is a nice name."

Toby frowned. "But, our last names are meaningless. They were just given to us at the centers. They have no more significance than a serial number." He looked down at Leonardo. "Our child is not meaningless."

"Let me suggest something," Cunningham spoke up. "There's an ancient Scandinavian tradition of naming children after the father, which might work here. For example, the name Anderson comes from that tradition: Ander's son, becomes Andersson. Following that tradition, your child would be named Tobias' son, or Tobiasson. And your child Tom would be Thomas' son, or Thomasson. What do you think?"

Toby smiled at Tom and cocked an eyebrow. "Leonardo Tobiasson? Whatdayathink?"

Tom grinned. "I like. What do you think Doc Kennedy?"

"I like it, and I think the Council of Enclaves will too. It's the best suggestion we've had and we've been kicking the issue around for months. I'll poll them tomorrow."

Toby held the child up to eye level. "Hello Leonardo Tobiasson. Welcome to my world. You're going to love it."

Nick asked, in a little boy voice, "Can we call him Leo for short?"

Three weeks later, Tom, Toby and Leo, along with nearly the entire population of the valley were gathered in the brightly lit and cheerfully decorated meeting hall for a reception. Everyone was anxious to see the child and pay their respects to Toby and Tom. Video cameras were positioned around the great room to beam pictures of the festivities to the thousands of enclaves around the globe. Doc Kennedy acted as master of ceremonies. He gave a short speech, as did Toby and then Tom. Toby held the baby for everyone to see and introduced him to the world.

Later, back at their home, the boys hosted another small reception for their friends. Leo was asleep in his cradle, while the friends enjoyed food and wine in the torch-lit back yard.

Doc Kennedy rose and refreshed everyone's drink. Holding his glass aloft, he announced, "I wish to make a small speech and then a toast."

The guests acknowledged that he had the floor. "For eons, since man first stood and walked erect, the male of the species has represented reason, while the female has represented feeling. And, in every culture, it was thought that reason and feeling were in conflict."

He paused for effect. "Now, God, The Creator, Nature, The Great Spirit, Universal Intelligence, whatever you wish to call it, has acknowledged that mankind has progressed to a new plateau. Man has evolved to the point that he understands that male and female are a blending of reason and feeling, and that they are not in conflict." He gestured toward Leo, Toby and Tom. "And, these glorious beings represent that knowledge."

He smiled down at Toby. "You once asked me what you are. Now, I'm going to tell you." He held his glass aloft. "Here's to The Epicene, the next step in evolution. The new species of man!"


Tom and Toby sat on lounges next to the newly installed swimming pool in their back yard. Doc Kennedy joined them after turning the steaks on the grill.

Tom laughed, watching Leo and Marco Tobiasson and Chris Thomasson romping in the shallow end with Nick and John. "Nick once told me that he and John would enjoy spoiling our children rotten. Look at them. I wonder who is spoiling whom."

Toby snickered. "It appears that our offspring have those two exactly where they want them. John and Nick actually pout if they miss a day seeing the kids."

Kennedy laughed along with them. "Your children are growing up fast. Leo and Chris are six and Marco is five. And, all three of them are more mature mentally and physically than non-epicene kids of the same age. The other 123 born here in the last six years are maturing just as quickly."

"What's going to happen when we outgrow this valley?" Toby wondered.

"We'll reclaim the land outside, some of those abandoned towns. The other enclaves will do the same."

"Won't that be dangerous?" Tom asked.

"Not by the time we need to expand outside this valley," Kennedy sighed. "There won't be anyone left there to fear. The old species is dying out. They won't have any strength left to fight. The land outside the cities is abandoned almost entirely now."

He gave them a bright smile. "Actually, the reclamation process has already begun. I heard from Father Benton yesterday. He will stop airlifting people to us, because he and some of his confederates have established another enclave about 50 miles from his city. He is moving as many Epicenes as he safely can there. All of the other operatives are doing much the same."

Kennedy gave them an encouraging look. "The last female that we know of was born three years ago. In another forty years, she and all other females will have passed child bearing age. Then, the authorities will stop pumping the males full of hormones and the Epicenes among them will be revealed. Meanwhile, we have a job ahead of us: to nurture children who will grow up as strong leaders, confident in their epicene heritage, so they can guide their brothers on the outside."

He gazed off into the distance. "Those poor devils out there think their world is dying, when a glorious new species of man is growing up right under their noses." He gestured to the children in the pool. "Their children and their brothers all over the world will inherit the Earth."

The End.

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